The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has recently released its latest publication on the theme of Biodiversity Indicators. The article is published at a time when the European-led target of halting the loss of UK Biodiversity by 2010 is widely perceived to be failing. As confirmed by the BES’s expert membership, in the BES Science Policy Team’s official response to the environmental audit committee’s enquiry.
The POSTnote examines the value of the biodiversity indicators identifying two key questions posed by an inquiry launched by the Environmental Audit Committee:
- Are the indicators meaningful?
- Are there enough data to assess progress and define targets?
1) The indicators have been good where knowledge has been available, in terms of their usefulness to policy-makers, whereas others have suffered as they more difficult to unravel in terms of biological meaningfulness.
2) For some groups, e.g. birds, there is more than enough biologically meaningful data to draw confident conclusions from about their status, whilst for other groups as found in the Red List Index, data are available for only a few species and even where found the resolution of the data is at too coarse a scale to make competent assessments. Many species are ‘data deficient’ making it almost impossible to assess their true status.
The BES offers the opportunity to third year PhD students to work in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on a relevant ecological topic. For further information go to: http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/articles/publicaffairs/POST/